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People on a boatThe start of summer heralds in longer days, BBQs, suntans, and most importantly, boating season. Whether you have a 12ft Jon boat or a 29ft center console, there are a few things you need to think about before hitting the water. Besides counting the number of life jackets on board, you need to make sure you have adequate liability insurance for your boat.

If you have ever taken a gander at your boat’s insurance policy or you are in the market for insurance for a new boat you recently purchased, you have probably seen a section labeled protection and indemnity. Protection and indemnity (P&I) is boating insurance’s equivalent of auto insurance bodily injury and property damage. Basically, if you hit someone or something while driving your boat, your protection and indemnity insurance will pay to fix the damage that you do to a person and/or someone’s property. Whether or not you carry the maximum limit of insurance on your auto liability and property, you should definitely consider carrying the maximum limit of insurance on your boat’s P&I.

There are rules in place governing boating safety. However, in many states, South Carolina included, once a person has their driver’s license, they do not have to take a boater safety course and can legally operate a boat on the open water. This means that you can have people who have purchased or rented a boat and who are driving on the open water for the very first time with no supervision! The other big difference between cars and boats is that cars have seatbelts; unless you have an overly cautious boat owner chances are the boat you are in is not going to have seat belts.

So, even if you are a well-trained boat owner who has passed a boating safety course, you still have to contend with other boats who may not know the rules of the water. Consider this example: you have to avoid hitting a boat driving erratically and in the process you manage to hit another boat. Since the folks in the boat you hit are probably not wearing seatbelts they are more likely to get tossed around and be injured. If you have high limits of protection and indemnity, your policy will be able to cover you fully. If you went with low limits of protection and indemnity, your policy will pay up to the limits of insurance and then you will have to make up the difference out of pocket.

The moral of the story is: protect yourself. You may be a great boat operator and always play it safe, but you cannot guarantee that everyone else on the water is playing by the same rules. Spend the extra $50 dollars and get the higher limits of protection and indemnity coverage.

Contact us for a Florence SC boat insurance quote.

Lawson Walker
Contact Lawson Walker, CIC
Call: (843) 468-9718

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2420 Hoffmeyer Rd, Suite D | Florence, SC 29501
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